Your first holiday season as a homeowner is an important milestone in your life—perhaps it’s the first time you’ll host guests or put up a real holiday tree, or maybe it’s just the first time that you can sleep in as late as you want to without your family members waking you up on Christmas morning.
No matter what you’re looking forward to in your new home this holiday season, you can anticipate that a new house coupled with the holidays will make for a hectic and busy time in your life. Not only will you need to organize a move and a home, but you’ll also be preparing to enjoy the closing of the year.
Follow along for tips that might help to make your season as a first-time home owner a little brighter.
The Bare Budget
Since you just bought a house, your interest in spending more money is probably at an all-time low, but with the holidays approaching you might feel obligated to put some money into gifts or entertaining. You can try to minimize your holiday costs by:
- Sending digital cards instead of paper ones.
- Offering to host a dinner instead of buying gifts.
- Suggesting a white elephant gift exchange or potluck.
You can save on your overall costs by making a list of your wants and needs. There are going to be some things that you can’t live without like towels, curtains, or utensils, but there are also going to be some things that can wait.
Figure out what you need now and look for deals over the holidays, and hold onto your “want” list until the holidays are over to advantage of clearance items and end-of-year sales. You can save a significant amount by exercising strategic spending for items that you can live without for a couple of weeks.
Remember that as a new homeowner, you’re likely in for some financial surprises, so try to trim down your holiday budget this time around to give yourself room to breathe when the unexpected happens.
Go-to Gifts for New Homeowners
Now that you own a home, your gift list is probably going to change. Where you used to ask for things like clothes or accessories, now you might want to start asking for more grown-up items like dishes, small appliances, or other household needs.
If you aren’t quite sure what to ask for, or you have a first-time buyer in your life you need to buy for, consider some of the following options:
- Gift cards for home outfitting stores.
- Kitchen accessories, like pots, pans, and countertop appliances.
- Money towards large appliances or home upgrades.
- Memberships for Costco, Netflix, or newspaper subscriptions.
- Essentials, like sheets, blankets, towels, and other linens.
It can also help to make a registry of things that you want or need so that no one has to try to match anything to your décor.
As part of your home purchase, you likely paid for a home inspection that made you aware of any issues in the home. Some of the things that came up can probably wait for spring, but any known issues that could affect your comfort during the winter should be addressed now.
If anything goes wrong over the holidays it can be difficult to find tradesmen that are available, and the cost is noticeably more. Be sure to take care of any issues that affect your:
- Structural integrity
Even if there are no issues, you should do some research on your heat source (whether it’s natural gas, oil, or a wood burning stove) to learn what potential issues look like, what to do if there’s a problem, and how to maintain it so that you can keep those toes toasty beyond the season and into the new year.
If you live in a snowy state, you should also be sure to purchase a shovel, salt, and an outdoor extension cord if your vehicle has a block heater. If you are responsible for maintaining your driveway or front walk, it’s best to have these items beforehand so that you don’t have to hit the store during a post-blizzard rush.
Timely Tips for Holiday Buyers
Throughout the busyness, stress, and chaos of the season, it can be hard to remember everything. Some miscellaneous tips include:
- Be careful of candles, holiday lights, and other fire hazards, especially when you still have boxes and packing materials around.
- Remember to give out your new address in advance in case anyone wants to send cards or gifts.
- Change your address at the post office so that any parcels your order come to the new house.
- Make sure the outdoor water is turned off.
- Figure out seasonal and guest parking in your neighborhood.
- Plan for weather delays for moving and deliveries.
- Make sure utilities are set up in advance.
- Have a plan for your home if you are going to travel.
Having a clear plan from the beginning can help you to have a smoother transition from one house to another, especially during the holiday season when inclement weather and vacations can cause hiccups.
Settling into the Season
Although this season may be a bit hectic, it’s still a special occasion. Your first holiday as a homeowner is something to savor, so try to take a step back and enjoy the moment. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Remember that you can unpack slowly, you don’t need to buy everything right away, and that next year will be even better.
What tips do you have for first-time buyers during the holidays?